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If you flood a rink or fill a pool, you’ll get a break on your water bill

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    If you flood a skating rink in your backyard in the winter or fill a large swimming pool in your yard in the summer, the City of Crookston is going to give you a break on your water bill. The Crookston City Council’s Ways & Means Committee this week approved the framework of a plan to do so, and it’s expected to be on the council’s agenda when it next meets Jan. 25.

    And, although the suggestion to do so came up recently at a city council meeting mostly because families were being forced to do more outdoor activities close to home and not use community facilities because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the door is being left open to keep the water bill break in place after the pandemic eases.

    Here’s how it’ll work:

    Residents who flood rinks or fill pools on their property will have sewer charges waived on up to 8,000 gallons of water utilized within a one-month period. Residents will be able to take advantage of the savings one time between Jan. 25, 2021 and July 31, 2021. Anyone looking to flood a rink or fill a pool needs to notify the City beforehand if they want to be eligible for the discount.

    Water Department personnel would use their new remote/mobile meter-reading technology to determine the amount of water needed to flood the rink or pool and calculate the waived sewer charge.

    City Administrator Amy Finch said the Crookston plan is modeled after the process utilized by the City of East Grand Forks, after local officials researched what, if any, breaks on water usage other communities in the region give their residents when they flood rinks or fill pools.

    The plan as of now is not to offer the water break to anyone who has flooded a rink previously this winter. Ward 2 Council Member Steve Erickson noted that with the mild weather, those who have rinks on their property have likely had a hard time maintaining quality ice, and may find themselves flooding them after Jan. 25 if and when the weather finally reverts to temperatures more typical of a winter around these parts.

    New Ward 1 Council Member Kristie Jerde endorsed the new amenity for Crookston residents and those considering Crookston as their home, and suggested that it be put in place permanently, pandemic or no pandemic.

Watering grass?

    As part of the discussion, Ward 3 Council Member Clayton Briggs said that since the topic went public a few weeks ago, he’s received calls from people wondering if they could get a similar break if they use thousands of gallons of water to keep their grass green in the summer, especially when conditions are their hottest and driest.

    Finch said that hasn’t been part of the discussions to date, but that staff could look into it and bring possible options back to the council.